This walk starts from the Watagan Forestry HQ campsite and follows the Great North Walk through the Watagan State Forest. The walk then heads out to Heaton lookout and down the long descent into Heaton Gap, passing several more fantastic lookouts and picnic areas on the way. The walk finishes at Heaton Gap on Freemans drive, just opposite the Watagan Forest Motel.
(open in app)
Cross sectional view of the Watagan Forestry HQ campsite to Heaton Gap bushwalking track
Analysis and summary of the altitude variation on the Watagan Forestry HQ campsite to Heaton Gap bushwalking track
Overview of this walks Grading - Based on the AS 2156.1 - 2001
These details are new. This new feature still requires more testing and refining. Please use the 'Walker Feedback' for report specific issues. Please e-mail Matt if you have any general comments. Hope you find it helpful.
Under this standard, a walk is graded based on the most difficult section of the walk.
Very steep (4/6)
Quality of track
Rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely (4/6)
Minimal directional signs (4/6)
Moderate level of bushwalking experience recommended (4/6)
Storms may impact on navigation and safety (3/6)
Limited facilities (such as cliffs not fenced, significant creeks not bridged) (4/6)
*This summary of grading information is new and still in testing
Some more detail of this walks Grading
Here is a bit more details explaining the grading looking at sections of the walk. Gradient
6km of this walk has short steep hills and another 4.9km is very steep. The remaining (1.9km) has gentle hills with occasional steps.
Quality of track
4.7km of this walk follows a clear and well formed track or trail and another 4km follows a rough track, where fallen trees and other obstacles are likely. The remaining (3.8km) follows a formed track, with some branches and other obstacles.
Around 9km of this walk has directional signs at most intersection, whilst the remaining 3.7km has minimal directional signs.
7km of this walk requires some bushwalking experience and another 2.7km requires no previous bushwalking experience. The remaining (2.6km) requires a leader a with moderate level of bushwalking experience.
Around 11km of this walk is not usually affected by severe weather events (that would unexpectedly impact safety and navigation), whilst the remaining 1.7km is affected by storms that may impact your navigation and safety.
4.8km of this walk is close to useful facilities (such as fenced cliffs and seats) and another 3.9km has limited facilities (such as cliffs not fenced, significant creeks not bridged). The remaining (3.9km) has limited facilities (such as not all cliffs fenced).
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Watagan Headsquarters campsite (aka Forestry HQ) is located in the Heaton State Forest, beside Bakers Rd, near Heaton Rd. This campsite has wood fired barbecues, picnic tables and a garbage bin. The large, flat, cleared area allows plenty of room to pitch a tent. In 2010, a series of vandalism attacks occurred on the water tank, so there is no longer water available.
Forestry H.Q campsite
Int of Bakers & Rocky Creek Roads Track: Moderate - road
Length = 946 m
Time = 16 mins
Climb = 12 m
Descent = -21 m
From the intersection (Forestry H.Q. campsite), this walk follows Bakers Road gently downhill, while keeping the GNW arrow marker on your right and the large 'Great North Walk' sign on your left. The walk continues, undulating gently for about 900m until coming to a three-way intersection with Rocky Creek Road (on the right).
Int of Bakers & Rocky Creek Roads
Hunter Lookout picnic area Track: Moderate - road,bushtrack
Length = 673 m
Time = 11 mins
Climb = 9 m
Descent = -17 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows Bakers Road north and gently uphill, while keeping Rocky Creek Road (no signpost) on your right. The walk continues, undulating gently for about 400m until coming to a three-way intersection with Glen Road (on the right). Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows Bakers Road gently uphill, while keeping Glen Road on your right. The walk continues, undulating gently for about 250m until coming to Hunter Lookout picnic area (on the left). Veer left: From the intersection, this walk heads off the road and up the hill following the Hunter Lookout picnic area sign, past the wooden gate and the public toilet, to the picnic area area and the lookout.
Alt = 435 m
Hunter Lookout can be found on Bakers Road, along the Great North Walk. This fenced lookout has everything you will need snack-stop, including toilets, picnic tables, chairs and wood-fired barbecues. This lookout has fantastic views over much of the Hunter region. In 2010, a series of vandalism attacks occurred on the water tank, so water is no longer available at Hunter Lookout.
Hunter Lookout picnic area
Macleans Lookout Track: Moderate - bushtrack,road,road
Length = 703 m
Time = 16 mins
Climb = 39 m
Descent = -38 m
Continue straight: From the picnic area, this walk heads north, past the metal gate to the intersection of Bakers Road. Veer left: From the Hunter Lookout picnic area (on Bakers Road), this walk follows Bakers Road north and gently downhill, while keeping Hunter Lookout on your left. The walk continues for about 400m until coming to a Y-intersection (Bakers Road loop). Continue straight: From the intersection (Bakers Road Loop), this walk follows the track gently uphill, while keeping the other end of Bakers Road Loop to your right, gently downhill. The walk follows the road for about 130m until coming to Macleans Lookout.
Alt = 445 m
McLeans Lookout offers magnificent views of the valleys in Heaton State Forest. Located on Bakers Road, this fenced lookout also has picnic facilities including tables with seats and open grassy areas.
Int of GNW track & Bakers Road Track: Moderate - road
Length = 102 m
Time = 2 mins
Climb = 5 m
Descent = -3 m
Veer right: From Mcleans Lookout, this walk follows Bakers Road gently downhill, while keeping Macleans Lookout behind you on your left. The walk continues for about 80m until coming to a three-way intersection with a wide track and GNW arrow marker (on the left).
Int of GNW track & Bakers Road
Int of GNW track AND Glen Road Track: Hard - servicetrail,bushtrack
Length = 566 m
Time = 15 mins
Climb = 21 m
Descent = -83 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the trail gently downhill, while keeping the 'Heaton Lookout' sign on your right. The walk continues (becoming moderately steep downhill) for about 280m until coming to a three-way intersection with a track on the left. Turn sharp right: From the intersection, this walk follows the track moderately steeply downhill, while keeping the GNW arrow marker on your left. The walk continues (descending moderately steeply into and out of a gully) for about 150m, until coming to a three-way intersection, Glen Road.
Int of GNW track & Glen Road
Int of GNW track and Fosters Road south Track: Hard - servicetrail,bushtrack,servicetrail,servicetrail
Length = 1.2 km
Time = 33 mins
Climb = 117 m
Descent = -84 m
Turn left: From the intersection, this walk follows the track gently downhill, while keeping the 'Glenn Rd' sign on your right. The walk continues through forest for about 120m, until coming to a three-way intersection with a track and GNW arrow marker (on the left). Turn left : From the intersection, this walk follows the GNW arrow marker moderately steeply down along the track. The walk continues for about 100m, to find a forested mossy creek where the track bend right and continues close to the creek for about 70m to then bend left and crossing the creek. The walk now follows the track undulating gently for about 280m before finding a large rock overhang. The walk then continues moderately steeply uphill for about 200m until coming to a T-intersection with a wide trail and GNW arrow marker. Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows 'Watagan Forest Road' sign uphill along the trail for about 200m to a three-way intersection, with another 'Watagan Forest Road' sign (on your left). Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the wide track gently downhill, while keeping the 'Macleans Lookout 2km' sign on your right. The walk continues for about 140m to a three-way intersection, with Fosters Road on your right and 'Fosters Road' sign on your left.
Int of GNW track and Fosters Road south
Int of GNW track and Hammonds Road Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 432 m
Time = 16 mins
Climb = 59 m
Descent = -68 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the GNW arrow post down along the wide old trail, passing the 'Fosters Road' sign on your left. The walk continues for about 100m, where the wide track then leads moderately steeply downhill for about 150m more. The walk then crosses a gully and heads up over another rise for about 70m to where the track narrows then bends left at a GNW arrow post. About 180m past the post, the walk crosses a gully then heads up the other side, past a termite mound to an unfenced cliff with distance valley views. Here the track bends right and leads up a short distance to a dirt road. The walk turns left and follows the road down for just a few metres to the 'Hammonds Road' sign, where the 'MacLean Lookout' arrow points back along the road.
Int of GNW track and Hammonds Road
Int of GNW track and Wallis Creek Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 1.45 km
Time = 44 mins
Climb = 113 m
Descent = -214 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the 'Heaton Lookout' sign downhill along the road a few metres, then veers left to follow the GNW arrow down the old trail. The walk leads fairly steeply down for about 180m then passes around a timber barrier. Here the track narrows and continues more steeply downhill through forest for about 250m to a gully and creek crossing (with many fallen dead trees). Continue straight: This walk crosses the creek and follows the track, while keeping the valley on your left. The walk follows the track steeply up for a short distance, then follows along the base of a cliff for about 120m to pass through a long sandstone cave. The rocky track leads steeply down through the dense rainforest for 700m, following a series of GNW arrow posts to the bottom of the gully beside Wallis Creek.
Int of GNW track and Wallis Creek
Int of GNW track and Barniers Road Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 1.02 km
Time = 30 mins
Climb = 143 m
Descent = 0 m
Continue straight: From here, the walk crosses Wallis Creek, and follows the GNW arrows south gently uphill along the track. The walk continues (crossing over a tree trunk with carved steps) and after about 500m, comes to a creek and a tree trunk with a directional arrow carving. Then the walk follows the track for about 130m (crossing the creek a number of times) to find the track leaving the creek. The track is followed moderately steeply uphill through forest for about 400m, until coming to a level four-way intersection with a 'Barniers Road/Mt Faulk Road' sign on your right.
Int of GNW track and Barniers Road
Int of GNW track and Heaton Lookout Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 1.19 km
Time = 29 mins
Climb = 58 m
Descent = -115 m
Continue straight: From the intersection, this walk follows the GNW arrow east, directly away from the face of the 'Barniers Road' sign. The walk continues along the old trail for about 450m to find an intersection with a track (on the right). Here the walk turns right, following the 'The Great North Walk' sign moderately steeply down the narrow track for about 220m and then crosses a creek. The walk continues moderately steeply uphill around another gully and after about 500m, comes to a T-intersection with Heaton trail and Heaton Lookout directly ahead.
Alt = 379 m
Heaton Lookout is one of the larger lookouts located on Heaton Road. This fenced lookout faces south-east. There are wood fired barbecues, picnic tables and a pit toilet. Heaton Lookout is a great place to stop for a snack, and the amazing view feels like a bonus. This lookout was named after Richard Heaton, a timber cutter who came to Australia as a convict. There is a water tank here, due to vandalism in the area this is not a reliable water source.
Heaton Communications Tower Track: Moderate - road
Length = 2.43 km
Time = 54 mins
Climb = 144 m
Descent = -54 m
Turn left: From 'Heaton Lookout', this walk follows the 'Heaton Gap' sign gently uphill along the dirt Heaton Rd, past the toilet. After about 250m, the road leads past the 'Heaton Loop Trail' side track, then about 250m later (staying left at the Y-intersection) the road passes another section of the same signposted track as the road bends left, enjoying the views over the clearing (on your right). The road now leads gently uphill for about 1.7km, ignoring a series of side tracks until coming to a clear three-way intersection just past the brick building and fenced communication tower (on the right, and a small dam on the left).
Heaton Communications Tower
Heaton Gap Lookout Track: Moderate - servicetrail
Length = 621 m
Time = 13 mins
Climb = 3 m
Descent = -69 m
Turn right: From the intersection, this walk follows the GNW arrow marker off the main road, heading east along the wide trail, initially keeping the fenced tower on your right. The trail follows the power lines[ref img=359237 for about 600m and then bends right, coming to the Heaton Gap Lookout. The unsignposted and unfenced clearing has wide, uninterrupted views to the south.
Heaton Gap Lookout
Alt = 415 m
Heaton Gap lookout is a fantastic spot to stop and catch your breath in Heaton State Forest. This unfenced lookout offers exhilarating views over the valleys towards Tuggerah Lake and Lake Macquarie. this unsignposted view, as with many features in the area, was named after Richard Heaton, a timber cutter who came to Australia as a convict. More info
Heaton Gap Lookout
Heaton Gap Track Head Track: Hard - bushtrack
Length = 1.22 km
Time = 32 mins
Climb = 6 m
Descent = -272 m
Continue straight: From Heaton Gap Lookout, this walk follows the track east, moderately steeply downhill, initially keeping the view from Heaton Gap Lookout on your right. After about 60m, the track leads to a timber platform with more views, underneath the power lines. The walk continues past some handrailing for about 20m to come to the 'Great North Walk Walker Register' post. After noting your intentions, the walk continues steeply downhill with stone and timber steps and sections for handrail for about 200m, past the rock boulders and grass trees where the track widens into a narrow grassy trail. Here the walk follows this trail and the power lines downhill, steeply in places, for about 600m, until coming to a level unsignposted three-way intersection with the Freemans Drive trail (on the right). Veer left: From the intersection, this walk follows the GNW arrow post and power lines steeply downhill along the trail. The walk continues for about 180m to find a three-way intersection, with a GNW arrow marker on the right (where the power line trail bends left). The walk turns right, leaving the power lines and following the GNW arrow marker steeply down a narrower forested track. The track winds down some timber steps, towards the sound of traffic for about 160m then down a timber staircase to the edge of Freemans Drive. Here the walk crosses Freemans Drive (busy road, please be careful to look and listen for traffic) and comes to the Watagan Forest Motel, petrol station (on the left), picnic area and signposted 'Heaton Gap Track Head' (on the right).
Watagan Forest Motel
Alt = 145 m
Watagan Forest Motel is located on Branxton-Toronto Road. This retro-style motel is located right on the Great North Walk. The motel offers six rooms for around $99 per night - each with a double bed (four rooms also have twin singles), a television, bathroom with shower, air conditioning, and breakfast included. Room service is available. Adjoining the motel is a service station, which also offers dining room meals as well as a small grocery selection (bread, milk, bottled water, rice, pasta, etc), open until 8:30pm daily. A rest area is situated next to the motel, with covered picnic tables and garbage bins. For further information, phone (02)4938 0149.
Fire Danger This walk passes Greater Hunter fire area which currently has a LOW MODERATE rating and No fire ban in place. (Tomorrow the Fire Danger Rating is LOW MODERATE, No fire ban.) (Downloaded 3 years ago) Please Note: Each park may have its own fire ban, this rating is only valid for today and is based on information from the RFS Please check the RFS Website for more information.
Weather and Climate Weather and Climate summary wx61242
Region: Hunter & Mid North Coast Park feesCampingFacilities Current Park Closure information for Watagans National Park Closure information last downloaded Sunday 27th of September 2015 07:00 AM Closed areas: Click Creek fire trail and Slippery Rock Road Click Creek fire trail is closed due to extensive storm damage. The trail will remain closed until maintenance works can be completed. Slippery Rock Road is closed due to eroded surfaces making conditions unsafe. The road will reopen, subject to conditions, once maintenance work is completed. Penalties apply for non-compliance For more information, please contact the NPWS Lakes area office on (02) 4972 9000 or visit the NSW National Parks safety page for park safety guidelines.
Safety alerts: Access to park during inclement weather Roads in Watagans National Park are unsealed, and accessible by 2WD in dry conditions only. 4WD's should be used at all other times. Gates and roads may be temporarily closed to prevent damage when wet. Please contact the NPWS Lake Munmorah office on (02) 4972 9000 for more information.
Heaton State Forest Boardering Watagan national Park, Heaton State forest is home to many great lookouts. There sre many highpoints with cliff edges giving great views across the Hunter valley and Lake Macquarie. Region: I am not aware of any closures in this park at the moment.
Awaba State Forest A large parcel of land west of the northern end of lake Macquarie, Awaba state forest lines the side of part of the Sydney - newcastle freeway. The park is home to mostly native forest Region: I am not aware of any closures in this park at the moment.